Best ever banana brownies (vegan, gluten-free, no added sugar)

vegan-gluten-free-banana-brownies

I’m not even kidding you – these are the best brownies ever. Gooey, chocolatey, banana-ey and gloriously guilt free, because they’re packed full of nutritious ingredients, with no added sugar.

As most of my brownies, they’re based on chickpeas, oats and dates. I don’t follow a gluten-free diet, but I prefer using chickpeas because it means you don’t need eggs and can still get a dose of protein. (I’m not vegan either, by the way, I just like to avoid dairy and eggs as much as I can.)

These can be whipped up in a food processor in five minutes and are a great way to use up very ripe bananas.


HEALTHY BANANA BROWNIES (VEGAN, GF)
Makes one 24cm square tin – ca 16 brownies

100g oats*
1 can (240g) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
150g dates
30g agave nectar
70g peanut butter (or other nut butter)
30g cocoa
1 tsp baking powder*
2 large ripe bananas (or three small ones)
250ml milk alternative (I use Oatly or Rice Dream, but nut milks work too
1 tsp coconut oil for the tin

Preheat the oven to 170°C. Brush a 24cm square (or equivalent size) brownie tin with coconut oil.

Put all the ingredients into a food processor and process everything into a smooth mixture.

Fill the mixture in to the brownie tin, spread evenly, and bake at 170°C for around 30 minutes, or until a toothpick stuck in the middle of the cake comes out clean. It’s ok if you still get a slight wobble in the middle; that will ensure you get a brownie-like consistency.

Leave to cool in the tin, then cut into squares or slices.


Store in the fridge. They’ll keep up to a week.

* To ensure the brownies are gluten-free us GF-certified oats and baking powder.

banana-brownies-photo-session

Healthy Christmas treat: orange and cacao energy balls

As the selection of fruit on offer in the shops starts to look a bit bleak, I’m going back to my winter staple: oranges. So, of course, it wasn’t long until they found their way into energy balls. This combination of mixed nuts, orange peel, cacao and a hint of cinnamon works perfectly as a little warming winter snack in the run-up to the festive season – think chocolate orange or jaffa cakes without all the sugar and with added goodness.

cacao-orange-nut-balls

ORANGE AND CACAO ENERGY BALLS
(Makes around 20 balls)

60g oats
150g mixed nuts (I used the Brazil, cashew and walnut mix form H&B)
5 dates
10g cacao (or cocoa)
Grated peel from one orange
20g maple syrup

Blitz everything in a strong food processor or Thermomix until it forms a sticky dough. Roll into bite-sized balls and enjoy. If you’re feeling fancy you can roll the balls in cocoa powder or chopped nuts.

They keep for at least five days in an airtight container in the fridge. (Beyond that I can’t tell, they don’t last that long in my house 😉 )

Raw banana bread nutballs: a delicious and healthy energy boost

I love banana bread. I could eat it for three meals a day – but that doesn’t exactly fit with my healthy lifestyle. So I’ve tweaked my recipe for nut energy balls – which have pretty much become my daily go-to snack for sweet cravings and pre-workout energy boosts – to add the flavour and goodness of banana and cacao to this clean and healthy treat.

banana-bread-nutballs

RAW BANANA BREAD NUTBALLS
(Makes around 30 balls)

125g whole rolled oats
200g mixed nuts (I use the broken cashew, brazil and walnut mix from H&B)
1 medium banana (100-120g)
4 dates
1 tbsp cacao or cocoa

Throw everything into a food processor or Thermomix and blitz until it forms a sticky dough. Roll into bite sized balls and store in an airtight container. 

They keep for up to a week in the fridge, but take them out of the fridge a while before you eat them as they’ll taste nicer when they’re not cold. 
Nom.

Quick cheat: Healthy hazelnut butter nutella

Bu now I’m largely living without chocolate, sweets and processed sugar (aside from the occasional cake and emegency KitKat), but one thing I found really hard to give up is Nutella. Nutella is basically my crack. I can’t have a jar of the stuff in the house because I will eat the lot, with a spoon, in a day (or less).

In my search for alternatives I tried Deliciously Ella’s healhty nutella recipe and it was m delicious, but the joy didn’t last long because it went mouldy within a few days. I think that was due to the water being added to the nuts in her recipe. (I have since learned that water is the death of all nut butters.) 

So this time I tried a simpler approach, grabbed a jar or Meridian’s crunchy hazelnut butter, stirred in 2 tsp of raw cacao powder and some maple syrup (just adjust to taste depending on how sweet you like it) AND IT IS AMAZING. 

So there, I’m saved. I don’t have to give up Nutella and I’ve found a better, healthier version. With crunch. 

  
And I just happen to have some fresh, homemade German rye and hazelnut bread in the house…so that’s my meals sorted for the weekend!

Clean almond and cherry cereal bars: crunchy, sweet and dangerously addictive

As a frequent snacker I NEED cereal bars to get me through the day, but most of the bought ones are stuffed full of sugar and artificial flavourings and leave you hungry again after ten minutes.

Here’s an alternative to all that: super easy, homemade cereal bars with all the goodness of nuts, fruits and natural sweeteners that actually fill you up and also satisfy all your cravings for sweetness and crunch. Totally clean and oh so good.

almond-cherry-cereal-bars-1

Be warned, though: These are very addictive and it’s all too easy to munch your way through quite a lot in one go – but the ingredients pack a serious amount of energy.


ALMOND AND CHERRY CEREAL BARS

150g whole rolled oats
100g almonds
50g cashews
80g salted almond butter (or add a pinch of salt)
40g honey
100g dates
75g dried cherries
1/2 banana

 

  1. Spread the oats and almonds thinly on a baking tray and toast at 180°C for about 10 minutes. Give them a shake halfway through so they don’t burn on one side. Leave to cool.
  2. Meanwhile blitz the dates and banana in a food processor. Stir in the honey and almond butter until you have a smooth and very sticky paste.
  3. Chop the cherries and cashews roughly. Add to the toasted almonds and oats in a bowl, pour over the sweet paste and mix everything with a wooden spoon until evenly distributed.
  4. Line a brownie tin with greaseproof paper; make sure paper covers the sides as well so you can lift it out easily later.
  5. Pour the mixture into the tin and spread as evenly as you can with the wooden spoon, then press down with wet hands until the mixture is packed tightly. Leave to set in the freezer for about ten minutes.
  6. Once the mixture has set, use a sharp knife to cut into bars, squares or bites – whichever size you like. Wrap each bar in greaseproof paper and store them in an airtight container in the freezer.

They keep for at least two weeks – beyond that I can’t tell as a batch rarely lasts that long in my house…

Almond and cherry cereal bars

The world’s best healthy, raw, vegan, dairy-free avocado chocolate mousse

This is it – the treat to end all treats. The dessert no other dessert can live up to. The ultimate bowl of chocolatey indulgence.

And best of all: it’s raw, vegan, dairy-free, sugar-free, gluten-free, and full of beautiful ingredients that are good for you. All it takes is an avocado, a handful of dates and raspberries, some cocoa and a dash of almond milk. And it takes about two minutes to make. See, it’s the all-round perfect treat!

avocado-chocolate-mousse-2


THE ULTIMATE AVOCADO CHOCOLATE MOUSSE

1 ripe avocado, flesh scooped out (about 150g)
5 dates
a handful of raspberries (about 40g, can be frozen)
2 heaped tsp cacao powder
50ml almond milk

Put all the ingredients in a blender and blitz until smooth and creamy. Eat and be happy.


avocado-chocolate-mousse-cacao
Raw cacao is the secret to the wonderful chocolatey-ness of this dessert

You can adjust the lightness and creaminess by the amount of almond milk – use less for dark chocolate style, and a bit more for a lighter chocolate flavour. You can also adjust the sweetness by adding a few more dates or a squeeze of agave nectar. I like this dessert when it’s not too sweet so the flavour of the cacao and raspberries comes through better.

And if you want to enjoy this as a drink rather than a dessert, just up the almond milk to around 250ml and you’ve got the best-ever healthy chocolate shake!

avocado-chocolate-mousse-1

Clean snack: Barbecued peach as a jam alternative

This morning while making breakfast I found a leftover barbecued peach from last night’s BBQ sitting in the fridge. It looked a bit sad and not particularly inviting, but I hate to throw food away so I thought I’d try to integrate it into my breakfast – which was supposed to be spelt bread with almond butter (both homemade) and jam.

So I took the burnt skin off the sad little BBQ peach, sliced it up and stuck it on top of my almond butter bread. With a few coconut flakes sprinkled over the top to make it look a bit more inviting.

And I can’t even tell you how good it was!

barbecued peach on almond butter bread

I eat fresh fruit on bread a lot (as a healthy alternative to jam), but so far nothing compares to the sweet, soft goodness of the barbecued peach. I guess I’ll be loading the BBQ with a view towards breakfast from now on.

Give it a try – and happy BBQ season!

No-bake nut, cherry and white chocolate cookie dough balls

I’ve been blissing out on healthy / raw / vegan alternative sweet treats for the last few months and these are my absolute favourites. They taste just like cookie dough, but with all the naughty bits removed.

After experimenting with nuts and dates for low-guilt, high-energy treats to have as snacks before my workouts, I tried something new with these, adding rolled oats for a more dough-y texture and dried cherries because, well, mmmmh cherries! And if you don’t roll them in white choc drops they’re probably healthier, but cherry and white chocolate is too good a combination and should not be sacrificed for the sake of calorie counting.

So, get ready for blissballs!

almond-white-chocolate-cherry-cookie-dough-balls


INGREDIENTS

Makes about 20 bite-sized balls

90g rolled oats
100g almonds
50g cashews
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
75g dried cherries
40g maple syrup
20g agave nectar (or skip the agave and use 80g maple syrup altogether)
50g white chocolate drops (optional…but oh so good)


TO MAKE THE BALLS

  1. Blitz the oats, almonds and cashews in a food processor until they are a fine, floury consistency.
  2. Add the cherries, salt, vanilla and sweeteners and blitz again until the mixture starts to form a dough.
  3. Form into bite-sized balls and roll in the chocolate drops. Or, for the perfectionists, if you stick the choc drops in with the point side and keep rolling gently until they’re fully submerged you get the polka dot effect.

Keep in the fridge (if you manage to not eat the whole batch at once.)

Quick and easy almond, cashew and pistachio energy balls

It’s Saturday and I’m stuck at home with a cold when I was meant to be out for a long run around sunny Regent’s Park. FML etc. So to cheer myself up I made another batch of energy balls.

After last week’s mixed nut balls rolled in coconut flakes, I tried for a more minimal flavour this time, using only almonds and cashews, less of the dates and cacao, and rolled the balls in ground pistachios. The result was a beautifully nutty, lighter and less sweet type of blissball.

almond cashew energy balls


ALMOND, CASHEW AND PISTACHIO ENERGY BALLS
(Makes around 15 balls)

80g almonds (soaked in water overnight and drained)
80g cashewS (soaked in water overnight and drained)
6 dates
4tbsp almond milk
1 tbsp cacao
1/2 tsp good-quality vanilla extract
100g pistachios, ground or chopped, to roll

  1. Put everything except the pistachios in a food processor and blitz until you get a slightly crunchy paste.
  2. Shape into little balls and roll in the pistachios.
  3. Awesomeballs!

Vegan nut chocolate energy balls: the perfect pre-workout snack

Time for another clean food recipe because I’m enjoying this stuff so much at the moment. I’ve mostly given up chocolate, biscuits & co, without even making a conscious effort to do it. But a handful of nuts or a quick smoothie for a snack just make me feel so much better – especially on workout days. And even more so if cacao is involved. Cacao makes everything better…

So here’s my new favourite snack format: blissballs!

vegan nut chocolate energy balls


NUT CHOCOLATE ENERGY BALLS

100g almonds (soaked in water overnight and rinsed)
150g mixed nuts (soaked in water overnight and rinsed)
10 dates
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp cacao
4 tbsp almond milk (or any other nut milk)
1 tbsp coconut oil (optional)
Coconut flakes, to roll

  1. Put everything in the food processor and blend until you have a smooth paste. (Or, if you prefer a bit of crunch, stop blending before it gets too smooth.)
  2. Refrigerate for half an hour or so; this will make the mixture easier to roll.
  3. Shape into balls and roll them in coconut flakes.
  4. Bliss out on blissballs!

Stay tuned for more blissballs – I’m on a roll with these babies 😉